WORCESTER >> This time Thursday Lansdale Catholic boys lacrosse coach Thomas Nace will be in Eastern Europe where he will be deployed with the Army reserves.
He’ll have plenty of memories to help him get by.
Sure, Nace’s Crusaders were bounced out of the PIAA Class AA playoffs Wednesday night by the defending state champion Cougars of Springfield, 12-0.
But after an 18-5 season that put LC on the area lacrosse map, Nace was in no mood to feel badly about his team or their accomplishments.
“With the season we had, that makes it that much easier to go over and put the uniform on,” the coach said. “We had a real good season this year, and it looks like the program is going in the right direction.
“We have a lot of good people coming in next year and we’re going to be pretty good over the next couple of years.”
But Tuesday the Crusaders were no match for the defending state champs, who started slowly, but gradually pulled away, playing virtually the entire fourth quarter with a running clock.
Cougar Michael Tuskie got the game’s first three goals, netting a pair in the first quarter and then scoring less than a minute into the second.
The Cougars explosiveness was not news to Nace and his team, who had scouted them extensively.
“We watched a lot of film on them, and we knew they liked to feed the crease,” Nace said. “But seeing it and stopping it are two different things.
“They’re a very good team, obviously, and you can’t give them anything or they’ll take advantage.”
LC had its share of opportunities, but when they did, All-American goalkeeper James Spence was there to shut the door.
“We just got beat by a better team,” said LC’s Nick Heiler. “We knew this would be a tough game, so we’re not surprised by the result.
“It was a dream season and we played our guts out today.”
The Cougars built on their early 3-0 cushion, with Joe DeGenuardie adding two goals and Kyle Long adding another to make it 6-0 at halftime.
And it didn’t get better for the Crusaders.
By game’s end, Tulskie had four goals, DeGenuardie had three and the Cougars were on to the state finals, where they’re set to playHenderson, a 20-9 victor over Mars.
“For us to come from knowing each other as kids and to this point is incredible,” Heiler said. “My four years here were great. I’ll never forget them.”
Top Photo: Springfield’s Nick Cutuli tries to stop Lansdale Catholic’s Ryan McDonald during their PIAA Class 2A semifinal on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Anne Neborak/Digital First Media)